Most people know Jewel because of her music. An award-winning artist, she’s sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. But the 42-year-old is ready for the next chapter.
“I love music, but my energy isn’t there right now,” she said on Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in Laguna Nigel, Calif.
Indeed, after releasing her album “Picking Up the Pieces” in 2015, the singer-songwriter has dedicated her time to thinking about her personal brand more broadly. “It’s really never been about my music. It’s been about the values underneath that."
Last year, she also released a memoir called Never Broken. Now, she’s focusing on the newly-launched JewelNeverBroken.com, a website dedicated to inspiring emotional fitness. She has teamed up with Judson Brewer, one of the leading experts in mindfulness research, to help with her new venture. Her plans include creating a curriculum for public schools and helping companies shape their corporate culture. Jewel shared that she is in talks with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh about potentially working together.
“I have aggressively been making a lot of relationships in the business and entrepreneurship community, so that I can really understand how to take control of what is Jewel, Inc,” she said.
And the artist-turned-entrepreneur knows a thing or two about taking control of the narrative. She has been fiercely independent ever since she was a child. Jewel grew up in Homer, Alaska, in a two-room saddle barn with an outhouse. After her alcoholic father became abusive, 15-year-old Jewel left home and ended up homeless.
“When I was homeless, I was in a really difficult position because I was shoplifting, and I was having panic attacks,” she said. “I realized my life had come to a screeching halt. I had become a statistic.”
She began to discipline her mind and create exercises for herself that would allow her to get back on her feet. She began performing songs about things she had written in her journal, and that’s when her career as a musician took off, she says.
Jewel acknowledges that some people do still only see her as an artist, but this new venture marks a new chapter in the evolution of her brand.
“This is my ability to say, ‘I have an authentic offering in another category besides music that’s in line with the messaging I’ve always done,’” she said.